§ * MR. T. H. BOLTON (St. Pancras, N.)
I rise, Sir, for the purpose of moving, in connection with the Midland Railway Bill—That it be an Instruction to the Committee to whom the Midland Railway Bill has been referred to consider the propriety of requiring the Midland Railway Company to provide, by means of a viaduct, a public thorough fare across their Railway and works in North St. Pancras, from Leighton Road to Queen's Crescent; and if the Committee should be of opinion that it would be reasonable and proper to require the said Railway Company to provide such thoroughfare, to insert the necessary provisions in the said Bill.In North St. Pancras the Midland Railway Company have a considerable area of ground which lies between Kentish Town Road, near a street known as the Leighton Road and Queen's Crescent. This area is occupied by the Midland Company as a cattle station, and by railway sheds and general buildings of a similar character. But a great portion of it is vacant. The land comes up to the main street of Kentish Town, opposite to the Leighton Road. I wish to connect Leighton Road with Queen's Crescent. If there be any engineering difficulties of a serious character, or of insurmountable nature, which I think there are not, it will, of course, be within the competence of the Committee upstairs to consider them, and if they are found to be of sufficient importance, the Committee can decline to sanction this proposal. At this moment the Midland Company have in Parliament a Bill to confer upon them additional powers, and in that Bill the Company propose to acquire compulsorily certain lands and houses in the parish; to make a new street in connection with the alteration of another street; and further to widen by about 33 feet, or as shown in deposited plan, 80 feet—the bridge at St. Pancras which carries the St. Pancras Junction line over the St. Pancras Road. The Midland 1499 Railway Company, therefore, are asking to widen an already wide bridge by 80 ft., which practically means converting the road below into a tunnel. They also seek to appropriate for the purposes of their railway, Middlesex Street, Harpenden Street, Brill Street, Stanmore Street, Aldenham Street, and Goldington Street, together with certain other places extending to some 5,833 superficial square yards. The Midland Company are asking Parliament to sanction a very considerable interference with the parish of St. Pancras, and as they are coming here for these advantages, at the expense of St. Pancras, it is not unreasonable that the people of St. Pancras should ask at the hands of the company for some conveniences in other parts of the parish as a quid pro quo for the advantages which the company are seeking to acquire. The Vestry of St. Pancras have petitioned against the preamble of the Midland Company's Bill, urging, among other objections, that they do not know what the company propose to do with the land which they seek to acquire under the Bill; that there is no necessity for taking a good deal of it; and that if they are permitted to have this land they ought to submit to certain requirements in the interests of the parish. I admit that the petition of the Vestry does not distinctly raise the particular question which I am now bringing before the House. Had that been the case it would not have been necessary for me to have troubled the House at all with this matter. I may mention that I have been obliged to postpone this Motion in consequence of the serious illness of the chief executive officer of St. Pancras, which has prevented me from obtaining all the material I wanted. I would venture to submit to the House, as Member of Parliament for this part of St. Pancras, that I ought not to be precluded owing to any oversight or negligence on the part of the Vestry from raising now the interests of the public in the district which I represent. Perhaps I may be allowed to remind the House that the Midland Railway Company have taken a very considerable portion of public land in the parish of St. Pancras, and a considerable portion also of private property for the convenience of their line. Part of that land has been vacant for many years to the disadvantage of the 1500 general public. The least, then, that the Midland Railway Company can do is to meet the requirements of the inhabitants of the parish, who ask for a return for the advantages which the Company propose to secure for themselves under the provisions of the present Bill. I need scarcely say that the works of the Midland Railway Company have not added to the attractive character of St. Pancras, as any hon. Member will find who goes up the St. Pancras Road, or comes in contact with the works of the company elsewhere in St. Pancras, except, of course, in the case of the large terminal station, which is undoubtedly a very fine building. In moving this Instruction, I only ask that the question of making this road—a road which will be of great convenience to the public—shall be referred to the Committee upstairs. A viaduct from Leighton Road to Queen's Crescent will be of great convenience to the persons who live on both sides of the line. There is a large industrious artisan population in Kentish Town, but in consequence of not having a continuation of Queen's Crescent to Leighton Road, they are obliged to go round by Mansfield Road and Gordon House Road for near a mile, or round by the Prince of Wales' Road, or to walk through some very narrow and awkward streets intervening. I am not asking the House to make an Order at once, or to deal with the Midland Railway Company in any arbitrary way, but only to refer the matter to the Committee upstairs. In that case, if what I ask is reasonable and practicable, it will receive the sanction of the Committee, and if unreasonable or impracticable, it will be rejected. I may add that I have brought this matter forward without any ill-feeling towards the Midland Railway Company, but solely in the interests of the public, and, at the same time, with a full desire to give the company all reasonable facilities for the development of their line. I beg to move the Instruction which I have already read.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That it be an Instruction to the Committee to whom the Midland Railway Bill has been referred to consider the propriety of requiring the Midland Railway Company to provide, by means of a viaduct, a public thoroughfare across
their railway and works in North St. Pancras, from Leighton Road to Queen's Crescent; and, if the Committee should be of opinion that it would be reasonable and proper to require the said Railway Company to provide such thoroughfare, to insert the necessary provisions in the said Bill."—(Mr. T. H. Bolton.)
§ THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS (Mr. COURTNEY,) Cornwall, Bodmin
I do not rise for the purpose of denying the public convenience which would result from the proposition of the hon. Member for North St. Pancras (Mr. Bolton) if it were carried out. I have no doubt the bridge which he proposes would by extremely serviceable to those who live on both sides of the railway, but the question is, by whom is the bridge to be made, and at whose cost? The hon. Member for North St. Pancras comes before us with an Instruction to the Committee to consider the propriety of requiring the Midland Railway Company to provide, by means of a viaduct, a public thoroughfare across their railway from Leighton Road to Queen's Crescent; but, as he himself has said, he comes before the House rather late. The Committee upstairs have already been engaged in considering the Bill. The hon. Member comes here without taking any of the usual Parliamentary steps, and without being backed up by the Road Authority of the District. The Midland Railway Company are proposing1 to make some changes in one part of St. Pancras quite apart from the particular area which the hon. Member wishes to protect. If the Vestry of St. Pancras, when presenting their petition against the proposed works, had raised this objection, they might possibly have entered into negotiations with the company and secured some beneficial results. But the petition does not refer to this matter at all. It relates exclusively to works in South St. Pancras, where the Midland Railway Company wish to make some alteration in regard to the streets of the neighbourhood. The Vestry of St. Pancras have not asked to be heard upon the question which the hon. Member has brought before the House, and we are placed in this position—that the Midland Railway Company propose to do something in one part of the parish, whereas the local representatives object to something which has reference entirely to another part, and he is not backed up 1502 by the Local Authority. Nevertheless, he asks the House to adopt this Instruction, and to compel the Midland Railway Company really to make a bridge in another part of the parish. The Midland Company have not been consulted in the matter, nor did they see the plans until this afternoon. The Committee upstairs have already been engaged in the consideration of the Bill, and it would be an innovation of a startling character for the House, under such circumstances, to adopt the proposal of the hon. Member. As I said at starting, the bridge would undoubtedly be a great public convenience, and possibly at some future time it will be made, and the Midland Company may be got to contribute towards the cost of making it. The Midland Railway Company is a company of great activity; its works are not likely to finish this year, and probably they may have something to do in connection with St. Pancras in future years. If this Instruction were sanctioned and were to become the general rule it would probably have serious consequences.
§ MR. R. G. WEBSTER
Before the House goes to a Division I hope I may, as one of the Members for St. Pancras, be permitted to make one or two remarks. I quite agree with the hon. Member for North St. Pancras that a bridge from Leighton Road to Queen's Crescent would be of great advantage to a large number of the inhabitants of that part of the borough; more especially because I think the proposals now made by the Midland Railway Company will, to some extent, isolate one portion of the borough of St. Pancras from the other, and will be of great inconvenience to the public generally. I therefore think the Instruction ought to go before the Committee upon the Bill to see whether the existing evil can be remedied. At the same time, I quite agree with the Chairman of Ways and Means that it is somewhat unprecedented to ask for power to enable a Committee to consider a question which the Local Authorities in their Petition against the Bill have not raised. I venture to hope, however, that the House will allow the question to go before the Committee upstairs.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 67; Noes 59.—(Div. List, No. 34.)